Jay Williams is a PGA Professional in La Porte who got into the golf business right after college. After finishing school in Missouri, he moved to Chicago in 1989 to broaden his horizons. The PGA of America is comprised of 27,000 men and women with one common goal - to make golf enjoyable for everyone. Now, he is the general manager of Briar Leaf Golf Club.
“Two other members and I purchased Briar Leaf in 1995. I played all sorts of sports, but I always gravitated towards golf. I like the individuality of the sport, and played it all through high school and college,” said Williams. “I then went on to become a PGA Professional, and really I have been associated with the sport since I was about 5 years old.”
Williams said he enjoys that he gets to do something he is truly passionate about.
“I like dealing with people because I knew I never wanted to sit behind a desk, that wasn’t for me. The best part of the job is that I can grow the game of golf through junior golf,” said Williams. “I like to expose the sport to kids and watch them have a great time. Some of the kids who were in my junior program are coming back with their kids. I’ve been there for almost 23 years, and I just love teaching the game and watching people improve. There’s no price for watching people smile.”
Williams said there are challenges every day, but his appreciation for the sport will never be diminished.
“Everyday people come in with something on their mind or a desire they would like satisfied. It’s just the retail environment. All you can do is help the person in front of you. Anytime you deal with the public, you have rewarding moments and challenges, daily. The best part is the people and the toughest part is the people,” said Williams.
Williams moved to Northwest Indiana 22 years ago. He has a love for his community because it provided him with a great place to raise his family, and opportunities for his children.
“With both of my sons in school, I got involved in coaching and involved in their school. We live 10 minutes from one of the Great Lakes, and just an hour from one of the most exciting cities in the world,” said Williams. “Our cost of living is comfortable and it’s a safe community. It’s a unique area and we have a whole host of opportunities.”
Williams has also been involved in the La Porte Chamber of Commerce. He was on the board for six years and, now, he volunteers for the La Porte Junior Golf Tour.
“Almost 20 years ago, two women who are both avid golfers, started the tour. These kids get a great opportunity to play all the public golf courses in La Porte and Michigan City areas,” said Williams. “I agreed last year to take it over, and we have members at Briar Leaf who volunteer their time to keep up this incredible playing opportunity for our kids. It’s fun, vibrant, and it stems from my passion.”
Williams wants others to know the importance of giving back to the community.
“It goes with the saying that you get out what you put in. If we want our county to be a rewarding place to live, you have to think about what you can do to make it better,” said Williams. “Every parent would think it would be a great scenario if kids would want to come back after going away to college. Certainly, opportunities might pop up elsewhere, but I want to provide the area with more. Briar Leaf provides family time and if I can help people enjoy that time, I think that's great for everybody.”
Williams and his business partner have been there for more than two decades and want to continue to make their business an exciting place for people to visit. They want to focus on their corner of the community to provide a great service to people, not just to practice the sport, but to bring people and families together.
“I want people to feel welcome. I want people to know they can have fun here and to go home with a smile on their face,” said Williams.